Cucumber Mussel Salad

I should work in the suburbs more, both for my mental health and the healths of my pantry, fridge and finances. I was in Beaverton (The Beav) last night, and in that lovely Portland ‘burb they have got a WinCo Foods. If you didn’t know, WinCo is a clean, no-frills, employee-owned 24-hour discount grocery superstore, and I love it.

After picking my way through the vegetables, then scooping and dumping my way through the bulk grains, nuts and spices, I stumbled on quite the bargain. Hidden on a shelf beneath the honey spigots were big ol’ jugs of Lee Kum Kee chili oil for a scant $1.98, and I snagged one.

Thee O.G. Lee Kum Kee

When I arrived home I discovered that it was to expire the next day. Wow, they don’t call it WinCo for nothing.

I’m not a complainer, so I still have it, along with plans to cook a lot of somewhat piquant Asian food in the coming days. My immediate plan, however, was a sweet Szechuan-style cucumber salad, plus a mussel and vegetable stir fry for breakfast the next morning.

I used up a lot of my precious time on other house things, so I skipped the stir fry and just made a cucumber and vegetable salad with mussels. Said mussels were another wonderful find at the Beaverton WinCo last night. The mussel meat is shelled, cooked, and frozen, ready to go, and it was $4 for a one-pound bag.

That’s one of the benefits of living near an ocean: People near oceans have a taste for seafood, as they should, and so the stores are pretty well-stocked with quality sea options at affordable prices. It’s great for me, because sea animals are mostly the only animals I eat these days.

Anyway, this happened:

Cucumber Mussel Salad

Cucumber Mussel Salad

This salad is light, fresh, sweet, spicy and a tiny bit tart. It would be a good appetizer in a prolonged seafood lunch or dinner lineup, but I just had a big bowl as a meal. It’s currently winter, but many would consider this a spring or summer dish. That’s fine for them.


1 cup diced cucumber

1 cup cooked mussel meat

1/4 cup coleslaw mix

1 li’l handful chopped scallion

1 tbsp chopped Fresno pepper

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 tbsp chopped ginger

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp chile oil


Throw it all in a bowl, mix, cover, and put it in the fridge for an hour or more. After that it’s ready. If you’d rather not have it so spicy, substitute sesame oil for the chile oil. Some chopped onion and/or cilantro would be nice in this too.